by Kathleen Costa
Set out the tea and mince pies and have yourself a Happy Christmas courtesy of AcornTV! Many new productions are being aired since they have been diligent in following set Covid protocols, so it has been exciting to have favorites and new programs popping up from the new seasons of Vera and Midsomer Murders to brand new treats like The Long Call and Dalgliesh. The iconic baker Mary Berry is back exploring Country House Secrets and all three seasons of the informative, yet fun, The Wine Show is a delight. I again exclaim that the membership fees are extremely reasonable ($5.99 monthly or annual special $59.99), and the variety, quality, and convenience is top notch! You don’t have to be an obsessive Anglophile, like me, to enjoy all AcornTV has to offer.
Agatha is Back!
Covid restrictions, sadly, put the future of Agatha Raisin Mystery episodes in question, and during that time it was debated whether or not the cast might just well call it a day. Excitingly and just in time for the holidays, Agatha’s back in iconic form with a new telemovie airing December 20 based on M.C. Beaton’s eighteenth novel, Kissing Christmas Goodbye. Ashley Jensen returns as Agatha Raisin coiffed with her blond bob, dressed in colorful couture, and running around in heels that seem to be the perfect accessory for any fashionable PI. Roy Silver (Mathew Horne) is back as Aggie’s sidekick and often a pain in the “arse” with his quippish retorts. DC Bill Wang (Matt McCooey) has taken the lead detective role with DI Wilkes stuck on vacation in Iceland, and his relationship with Agatha’s apprentice Toni Gilmour (Jodie Tyack) has blossomed into the “meeting the parents” stage. Sarah Bloxby (Lucy Liemann), sans her reverend husband, is hoping to make Christmas Eve services perfect introducing herself to the congregation as their new curate. Sir Charles Fraith (Jason Merrells) is back offering some personal assistance, but James Lacey (Jamie Glover), her ex, is still MIA. My favorite character Mrs. Boggle (Marcia Warren) contributes her brilliant comic timing as cook, suspect, undercover asset, and amateur detective. More episodes are due in 2022, again bringing Beaton’s books to life, but enjoy the holidays with the gang and a new murder to solve.
Kissing Christmas Goodbye Trailer (00:1:00) Airing 12/20/21
Kissing Christmas Goodbye The efforts to create the perfect Christmas is always a bit complicated with Agatha Raisin, but it is something she desperately desires. The tree is a bit cumbersome, Sir Charles’s gingerbread manor house has been nibbled on by mice, and Roy is going over the top planning a big party with all the fixings. But, business has been slow, so the PI agency travels to Lower Taper to interview a new client: Phyllis, “everyone calls me Phil,” Tamworthy. Stopping at the nearest pub for directions, Aggie and Roy are met by the local pagan coven who share their ire about Lady Tamworthy whose manner, attitude, and efforts to sell the town puts everyone on edge. When introduced to “Phil,” they discover she wants to hire the firm for protection from an “unwanted visitation.” When she says it’s her husband Marley Tamworthy, who oddly is dead, they head toward the door. But it is soon discovered, with Phil’s murder, the more corporeal is the more dangerous: her three adult children learn there will be no inheritance, the town learns their prospects are being sold off, the gardener hollers foul over his wages and benefits, and the local pentacle-tatted pagans are losing their sacred land. With the Festival of Saturnalia in the background and another dead body discovered, Agatha is set to uncover the truth or no Christmas!
Earns 5/5 Mince Pies! Each day in Agatha’s case is creatively introduced thru the opening of a door in an advent calendar heralding suspicious predicaments, suspects galore, and a surprise ending at the point of a large candy cane. The mystery is clever and challenging to figure out since so many have legitimate reasons to want “Phil” dead. The cast is superior, interacting well like old friends, and although I still miss Gemma (Katy Wix), the other characters more than make up for the loss as Aggie’s support and sidekicks. Perfect for the holidays when in the end everyone is gathered around the Christmas tree toasting friendship!
It’s a 5-Star Book! I am an eager fan of M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin Mystery series and her original vision in Kissing Christmas Goodbye can not be missed. I chose to listen to the story in audiobook form and was thrilled with the entertaining narrative from the talented Wanda McCaddon. Sure, the essential drama adapted for television along with key characters are the same, of course, but there are enough minor and major differences that make this book a must read: additional storylines and other cases, loads of extra characters like agency employees and people of interest, and even some changes to key characters’ motivations, personalities, and appearances. I loved it!
Go to “Search” on the AcornTV menu and type in “Christmas,” and you’ll be be thrilled with all the shows that are about the holidays, set at the holidays, or in contrast to the holidays. All worth a look!
The Christmas Collection is a fantastic assemblage of thirty episodes from classic and vintage to contemporary comedies, dramas, and a documentary. From criminally fun mysteries like Midsomer Murders starring John Nettles and Neil Dudgeon, Kiwi gem Brokenwood Mysteries, Aussie gem Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries, and up north with Murdoch Mysteries, you’ll have holiday fun with your favorite shows. There are other personal favorites from Detectorists, A Place Called Home, Doc Martin, Fresh Fields, Boomers, and a Christmas Eve robbery in Inspector George Gently along with several intriguing episodes I never knew existed like The Moody’s and the semi-medieval and oddly enjoyable Hogfather with its tale of a mid-winter festival, Hogswatch, in the strange Diskworld filled with wizards, witches, and Death. I was also fascinated by The Yorkshire Vet at Christmas reality show and inspired to watch more of the series. Christmas in all it’s varied forms make AcornTV a perfect entertainment destination.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also check our our new mystery podcast! A new Christmas episode went up this week.